This week I didn't really do anything of note, but I did meet some interesting people.
At the end of a regulation work week that really could have happened anywhere, I was invited out to meet up with some of the local Vientiane technoratti. Day and Nin are young, entrepreneurial guys with some ideas about how things could be around here. Laos is both archaic and modern. They have some very old legacy items to deal with but also some very modern stuff as if you were going to build something now, you might as well have the current cutting edge.
The technical opportunities here are almost limitless - apart from the ability to fund them. There is evidence everywhere of reliance on external funding through aid or investment - which then gets run down through lack of maintenance until a new round of money arrives from somewhere. The local funding priorities are opaque to me so far. I shall be keeping an eye out and asking questions when I can.
I also got some briefings on bars etc. from the local guys and I am now armed with some info on things to try and, more importantly, traps to avoid. I knew that nightclub over the road looked dodgy.
It was a cool night with beer, pizza and chips. I prevented the locals from the abomination of adding ketchup to their pizzas and we played "what flavour chip is that?" Seafood flavoured chips are unlikely to catch on back home. Trust me, I've tried a few lately. I also met the tallest Lao woman I've ever seen. Loopee reaches my ear and her English was impeccable.
The weekend saw another round of golf and I am hitting the ball pretty well. Too well as I made a few bogies after flying over the green. I think I'll seek out the caddy I had that day more often. She spoke a bit of English and was quite fun to have on my side. She even seemed to give a bit of attitude to one of the other girls based on my performance compared to my playing partners. I look like a good golfer at KM6 compared to the adequate one I am in the fields at home. The arm thing is definitely due to whiteness. Their eyes nearly popped out of their heads when I lifted my shirt to show my base color.